WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Heroes in Crisis #4 by Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Harley Quinn has been mostly on the run since the massacre at Sanctuary. After getting the drop on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman two issues ago, she finds herself at one of the Joker’s old hideouts in Tom King and Clay Mann’s Heroes in Crisis #4. While Batman hasn’t tracked her down yet, another hero has, and their encounter uncovers an unexpected commonality between hero and villain.
It’s not just any hero who finds Harley hiding, it’s another member of the Bat-family. While the World’s Greatest Detective is still playing catchup, it’s Batgirl who beats him to the literal punch. Batgirl finds Harley in an old funhouse, and fists and feet immediately fly. That is, until Batgirl is able to reach Harley with a surprising observation: That the two have a lot in common, specifically regarding how Batman himself sees them.
Batgirl tells Harley that Batman sees them both “as pitiful. Broken. Just another product of his failure to capture the stupid Joker.” Barbara Gordon’s sentiment is a starkly frank observation that reveals similarities between the two characters. Barbara was physically victimized by the Joker, while Harley’s trauma is more psychological. In either case, both bear the scars inflicted by the Joker, or more indirectly, the consequences of Batman’s inability to stop him.
The Joker has inflicted no shortage of physical and emotional trauma on all of his victims, but Barbara makes a case for a special commonality between herself and Harley. For one, Barbara cites Harley as “another scared, scarred girl” in Batman’s eyes. While Batman himself might tend to disagree with her assessment, it’s not a similarity that’s easily dismissed. Others in the Batman family have been victimized by the Joker, if not outright killed (a la Jason Todd). But the rejuvenated Jason doesn’t appear to view himself as scared or scarred, and neither does Batman.
Regardless of Batman’s opinion, clearly Batgirl has struck a chord with Harley. Both see themselves as victims of the same villain, and also as perpetually misunderstood. And, in turn, misjudged. While nearly everyone else in Heroes in Crisis sees Harley as a villain and perpetrator of the massacre, Barbara instead sees her as someone who needs help. Her own judgment of Harley will wait.
In an apparent acknowledgment of their newfound alliance, Harley and Batgirl are seen in action together on the final page -- “Harley and Girl-Bat, the Dynamicker Duo,” as Harley puts it. However, thanks to Lois Lane, the news of the Sanctuary murders is now out, and Harley is already one of the main suspects. Batgirl’s new partnership with Harley could potentially put her on the unpopular side of some heroes’ opinions, and potentially in conflict with Batman.
Heroes in Crisis #5 goes on sale Jan. 30.